Friday, January 19, 2007

Leading from the front (SGT Wosika, the rest of the story)

One of the things that has always differentiated the US military from many others in the world is that our officers and NCO's lead from the front and by example. SGT James Wosika Jr, whose funeral is today in St Paul is another fine example of the this ethic.

The media accounts of his death that have been published so far, have simple said that SGT Wosika was killed by an IED while on foot patrol in Fallujah, and that no other soldiers were injured. Those details made me curious. IED's usually don't injure just one soldier, and I wondered what really happened...

I'm know proud to publish some more of the details of what really happen (emphasis mine) from SGT Wosika's company commander, CPT Chip Rankin (reposted from a private forum with permission):

Army Sgt. James M. Wosika, Jr., 24, of St. Paul, Minn. Sgt. Woskia was assigned to the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, Crookston, Minn. Died Jan. 9 in Fallujah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit while on combat patrol.

I wanted to take a moment to inform everyone that is part of the wrestling community back home about one of the Best wrestlers to ever come out of Minnesota. As I read the forum we all like to point out who won the most matches or won the most titles. Rarely do we think about the majority of wrestlers that work there butts off and never see there names on these lists. In fact, this last week a former Minnesota Wrestler was killed in Iraq that most people don't remember, but let me tell you that Jim Wosika tops nearly everyone I know when it comes to what is most important when remembering great wrestlers. On Tuesday, January 9th a brave leader told the guys in his squad to get behind some cover as he checked out a potentially dangerous situation, an explosion occurred and Jimmy was killed instantly... His actions that day without question saved the lives of 8 other Soldiers, his fellow brothers. Jim did this without hesistation and knowing Jimmy he would do it again.

Jim Wosika wrestled for Jim Paddock at Highland Park. Trust me I was informed everyday how much tougher AAA schools were than AA schools and just how Highland Park would kick Litchfield's butt anyday of the week. We have some wall mats that we threw down in a tent over here in Iraq and we would meet on Monday nights after a day full of combat patrols do some grappling.. He loved the sport of wrestling and he represented the very best of what the sport of wrestling teaches all of us.. Discipline, Teamwork and Sacrifice were just a few of the qualities that James Wosika lived by everyday here in Iraq... He may not have won the most matches or the most titles, but he will go down as one of the finest wrestlers I have ever had the honor of knowing...

Wrestlers, coaches, parents and fans please keep Jim Wosika and his family in your thoughts and prayers throughout the rest of the season. Think about it all, the wins and losses and more importantly the lessons that wrestling teaches us, because in the end it won't matter how many matches you won or loss when faced with the challenges like one that faced SSG Jim Wosika that Tuesday afternoon, when he knew the price he might be asked to pay and went ahead without hesistation because it knew it was the right thing to do because of the valuable lessons he learned from the sport of wrestling.

CPT Chip Rankin
Commander B Co 2-136
Camp Fallujah, Iraq
Litchfield Wrestling Coach

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Day by Day, by Chris Muir (updated daily)

Chris Muir is the cartoonist that I met in Kuwait. He spent two weeks in Iraq at the same time I was there in February 2007, and so thought it would relevant to showcase his work on my site. Here is a link to Chris' humorous travelogue of this Iraq trip: